USGS - science for a changing world

South Atlantic Water Science Center

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hydrologic Network

Rainfall Network


The first raingage of the current network was installed in 1989. By 1992, three gages were recording rainfall in Mecklenburg County. At that time, an effort was started to provide greater areal coverage of the county, and now the network consists of 72 raingages. Landline telemetry was used in early gages for data retrieval. Currently, 68 sites are now equipped with ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radios and 4 sites use satellite telemetry for data communication. All sites currently use tipping-bucket raingages to measure precipitation.

Photograph of a standard pipe mounted raingage

Standard Pipe Mounted Raingage
Additional Raingage photos


  • Develop and maintain a real-time network of raingages in and around the Mecklenburg County area
  • Develop automated methods for interpreting data (rainfall totals, recurrence intervals, intensity duration frequency (IDF) analysis)
  • Evaluate methods and develop and apply software to improve retrieval and dissemination of data to interested users


Locate, install, operate, and maintain raingages throughout the county to provide areal coverage of rainfall data retrieved in real-time and disseminated quickly.

Research existing technologies and develop and implement new software and hardware to improve speed and efficiency of data collection and transmission.

Define data needs and develop computer programs to automatically retrieve and analyze data and elucidate presentation.